Real Wood or Fake Wood for a Deck?

Old 01-27-04, 07:23 AM
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Smile Real Wood or Fake Wood for a Deck?

I am looking at building a deck this spring. What are the pros and cons to this? Do the fake wood really look good? What are some brand names and any information on this. Hoping to get some opinions from a few of you that have either one or have seen them and what your thoughts are.

Old 01-27-04, 08:52 AM
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There are certainly pros and cons for both real wood and the composite woods. You'll need to do alot more research on each but I'll help a bit.

Real wood: Pressure treated SY Pine, cedar, redwood, Ipe, and some others. These will vary greatly in cost and most will require a cleaning/staining maintenance every two or three years.

Composites are becoming more available and there are dozens of manufacturers. They are generally twice(or more) the cost of real woods. Composites still require some annual cleaning. Some will fade due to the sun's uv radiation. Darker colors can be hot to bare feet. Some are more slippery than others.

Here's a link to a slew of composite makers:

Check around at all the local home centers and specialty lumber stores in your area. Shop around and ask questions.

Old 01-28-04, 01:55 PM
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I put in a dock last spring. I chose to use the TimberTech toungue and groove material. I decided to go with a composite material since it does not require the high level of maintainece as wood. In particualr I choose the TimberTech because of the tongue and groove material since the screws are not visible on the surface. This plus the fact there are no splinters makes a great surface for walking barefoot.

The toungue side does have notches that aid in draining surface water. Over time the material has aged to a natural gray color.

Here's a picture of the dock:

You can find out more about TimberTech at:
Old 01-28-04, 09:53 PM
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ANY decking can be installed with 'blind screws'. I've done it with Trex, WeatherBest, redwood, cedar, ...


Choose the decking that you like the looks of (and that's available where you are), and that you're willing to invest both the initial outlay and the required maintenance in. Wood is wood, and it's going to LOOK like wood. There's redwood, cedar, PT, SYP, teak, Ipe, mahogany, ... They'll all work. can you get them? Can you AFFORD them?

There are something like 40 composites on the market right now. Basically, Trex started it, and everybody else has been putting their own twist in it. Some have added a woodgrain, which Trex doesn't have. Some have tried to come up with fastening systems that hide the screws -- lots of those systems out there, and they can be made to work with whatever decking you choose.

Where I'm at (about 150 mile from where redwood GROWS), I get a redwood 2X6 for as little as $1.70 a linear foot. (That's $3.40/sq.ft. of decking.) Trex runs about $5.00/sq.ft. of decking. Of course, you have to add the structure to SUPPORT that decking -- that pushes my INSTALLED price to about $20/sq.ft., or a bit higher. But that's you paying me to do the labor, too!!

TRY to buy a redwood 2X6 on the east coast!! You'll pay as much for that as I will trying to buy a SYP 2X6 here. (Truckers and all of the middlemen have to make a livin' too!!!) They can't afford my redwood, and I can't afford their SYP!

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